Citizen Science: Growing Shiitake and Chestnut on Hawthorn and Mulberry

This citizen science study aims to examine if Night Velvet Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) and Chestnut (Pholiota aurivella) mushrooms can be cultivated on Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) and Mulberry (Morus alba) logs.

a stack of logs on a pallet
a picture of chestnut mushrooms growing on a log

Project Background

Hawthorn is mostly known for being an excellent source of firewood, due to a lack of smoke production coupled with high heat generation, and it is also under medicinal study for heart disease protection. However, truly little is known about Hawthorn use in mushroom cultivation. Mulberry, known for its rapid release of pollen (greater than half the speed of sound!), is native to India and commonly found Mulberry can grow in partial shade or full sun and prefers well-drained soil. We have tested Lion's Mane and Comb Tooth on Mulberry and found it to be an excellent host. Mulberry can also host Oyster varieties and Nameko. Shiitake and Chestnut cultivation on these wood types is still unknown and has not been tested to our knowledge.

Project Description

Occupying agricultural zone 6a, Zach Freeman, cut twenty logs for mushroom cultivation experimentation. The logs were cut on March 20th, 2022, averaged in size with 40" in length x 4" in diameter, and were stored in the garage until inoculation. Ten of the logs were inoculated with Night Velvet Shiitake plug spawn and the other ten were inoculated with Chestnut plug spawn on April 2nd, 2022, with the drill-and-fill method. The logs were placed on pallets beneath a mixed forest canopy with access to dappled light and rainfall. During dry spells, Zach monitored and managed log moisture levels weekly.


Zone Location:
Zone 6a
Project Start Date:
April 2nd, 2022
Project Status:
Z. Freeman


First fruiting of Chestnut on Mulberry in September of 2023. However, there was just one mushroom. There were signs of colonization on the mulberry logs for both Chestnut and Shiitake, but no visible action on any hawthorn logs.

We will continue to monitor the project to see if there is further fruiting on the logs. It is not unusual for plug spawn to take 18-24 months to fully colonize logs, so we haven't given up hope that these logs may yet produce mushrooms!